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Toilets in the workplace - toilets without queuing

16-05-2023

Providing employees with proper sanitary and hygiene facilities seems to be an obvious and indisputable matter. In practice, however, we encounter inappropriate solutions. Oversights can result from lack of knowledge or underestimating the severity of the problem. This generates unnecessary problems and, while probably not everyone realizes this, it is not in compliance with the regulations.

Providing employees with proper sanitary facilities seems to be an obvious matter that does not require discussion. In practice, however, we encounter improper solutions. Oversights may result from ignorance or disregarding the importance of the problem. This creates unnecessary problems and, while probably not everyone realizes this, it is against the regulations.

Table of contents:

1. Why is it worth investing in a restroom for employees?

2. Sanitary facilities at work

3. How many toilets should there be at the workplace?

4. Disabled people in the company

5. How to properly equip a washroom, WC, showers at the workplace?

5.1. Washrooms

5.2. Restrooms

5.3. Showers

6. Maintaining cleanliness in the WC workplace

toilet at work, employee wc

Why is it worth investing in a restroom for employees?

Investing in high-quality toilets at the workplace has many benefits for employers and employees. Here are a few reasons why it is worth investing in workplace toilets:

  1. Hygiene and health: Good quality toilets provide hygienic and clean conditions for employees. Regular cleaning and maintaining high sanitary standards help reduce the risk of infections and diseases. Toilets also provide access to appropriate cleaning and personal hygiene facilities, which contributes to maintaining employee health.

  2. Comfort and convenience: High-quality toilets create comfortable and convenient conditions for employees. Ergonomic equipment, the right amount of cabin and privacy help employees feel free and comfortable while using the toilet. Care for employee comfort affects their satisfaction and overall well-being at work.

  3. Improved efficiency: Providing access to toilets in appropriate places in the workplace helps minimize employee downtime. Employees will not have to look for remote toilets or leave the to respect your time.

  4. Positive company image: As an employer, investing in high-quality toilets is also a way of building a positive company image. By caring for the comfort and needs of employees, the company shows concern for their well-being and creates a friendly work environment. This can attract talented workers and build positive relationships with clients and business partners.

  5. Increased employee satisfaction: Good quality toilets in the workplace contribute to greater employee satisfaction. When employees have access to clean and comfortable toilets, they feel appreciated and respected by the employer. Satisfied employees are more likely to engage in work, have better morale, and show greater loyalty to the company.

Sanitary and hygienic facilities at work

There are clearly defined standards that regulate what sanitary and hygienic facilities should look like in the workplace. Firstly, they should be easily accessible to all users not only in terms of location, but should also be kept open at all times. Sometimes, toilets are locked with keys or card readers, which are not easily accessible to all users of a particular toilet.

Sanitary and hygienic facilities should be located in the building where work is being done, or in a building connected to it by a sheltered walkway. If an employee moves from heated work spaces, the walkway should also be heated. Toilets for employees should be located no more than 75 m from the workstation. The exception are people working continuously in open space – in this case, the distance from the toilet can be a maximum of 125 m from the furthest workstation.

Toilets should be located on every floor of the building where employees are present. The exception is floors where less than 10 people work – in this case, they should be provided with the possibility of using a toilet on the adjacent floor. The entrance to the toilets should be directly from general communication routes (e.g. from the corridor) and should be separated by an isolation room equipped with washbasins. Toilet doors should close automatically.
Employee toilets and bathrooms should be heated, illuminated, and ventilated in accordance with building regulations and Polish Standards. The height of these rooms should be up to 2.5 m or at least 2.2 m if they are located in the basement, cellar or attic. Walls should be covered to a height of at least 2 m with smooth, non-absorbent materials that are resistant to moisture. The best material is ceramic or stoneware tiles.

For people working in open spaces or performing work in places not equipped with water and sewerage installations, toilets with sealed waste tanks can be used.

How many toilets should there be in the workplace?

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Naturally, sanitary facilities should be adapted to the individual needs of women and men. For example, in a women's toilet, it is worth placing sanitary bins for hygiene waste, and in a men's toilet, there should be urinals.
The necessary number of toilets in the workplace depends on the number of people employed in the company and how many of them are women, how many are men, or mixed groups. Too few toilets, for example, can cause queues to form and the inability to use the toilet during the designated work break.

Toilets used by women or women and men

Number of employees Number of toilets Number of sinks
1-5 1 1
6-25 2 2
26-50 3 3
51-75 4 4
76-100 5 5


Toilets used by men

Number of employees Number of toilets Number of sinks
1-15 1 1
16-30 2 1
31-45 2 2
46-60 3 2
61-75 3 3
76-90 4 3
91-100 4 4


Locker rooms, washrooms, showers, and toilets should be separate for women and men. The exception is workplaces where fewer than 10 people work on one shift. The condition is to provide separate access for women and men to use them. It is worth ensuring proper toilet signage, dressing rooms, and showers.

If there are up to 20 employees in the workplace, the employer must provide at least toilets and sinks, as well as the possibility of hygienic consumption of meals and hygienic storage of private, work, and protective clothing.

People with Disabilities in the Company

In the case of employing people with disabilities in a company, the employer is obliged to adapt toilets, dressing rooms, social rooms, and other rooms and access to them to the needs of individuals with reduced mobility. Therefore, it is important to include wheelchair ramps, widened passages, or grab bars for people with disabilities.

Details on how to design a toilet for people with disabilities can be found in the article: Bathrooms for the Disabled - Dimensions, Requirements, Projects.

Fixed disabled handle for sink 32 60 cm Faneco matte steel

Proper Equipment of Washrooms, Toilets, and Showers in the Workplace

Washrooms

Washrooms should have sinks, sink faucets, mirrors, liquid soap dispensers or foam soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers and/or electric hand dryers, and trash cans. The arrangement of sinks should follow the principle that the distance between the sinks and the opposite wall is at least 1.3 m. In the case of two rows of sinks, a distance of at least 2 m should be maintained. The sinks should have hot and cold running water.

The regulations also indicate the number of sinks based on the nature of the work and associated requirements:

» Dirty work, exposing to contact with harmful or infectious substances: 1 sink per 5 employees

» Serial sinks for collective washing (e.g., at construction sites): 1 sink per 5 employees

» Office and related work: at least 1 sink per 30 men or 20 women

Round sink with faucet hole stainless noble matte steel

Toilets

Toilets, whether female, male, or mixed, should be equipped with toilet bowls and toilet faucets, urinals and urinal faucets, toilet paper dispensers, trash cans, hooks, toilet brushes. In the case of cabins in a single row, the distance between the cabin and the wall should be at least 1.3 m. In toilets with a row of cabins and urinals on the opposite wall, a minimum distance of 2 m should be maintained between them. Similarly, two rows of cabins facing each other should be 2 m apart.

Hanging urinal Faneco black steel

Showers

Showers and showers are particularly necessary for work that results in body dirt. The basic equipment of showers includes shower faucets, spouts, liquid body soap dispensers, and hooks. Showers should be located directly next to the dressing rooms so that users can quickly and freely use them. It is necessary to ensure unhindered movement of employees before using the shower and those who have already used it and are dressed in their own clothes.

There should be at least one shower stall for every 8 employees, and in the case of special work (requiring contact with toxic, infectious, radioactive, irritating, sensitizing substances, unpleasant odors, as well as dusty and dirty work), at least 1 shower stall should be provided for every 5 employees.

The dimensions of the shower stalls should comply with building regulations. The width between two rows of stalls should be at least 1.30 m, and between a row of stalls and the wall, at least 0.90 m. Each shower should be connected to hot and cold water. A toilet cabin with at least one toilet bowl per 10 showers should be located near the showers. When mixing water collectively, its temperature should be between 35ºC and 40ºC, and when mixing water individually, between 50ºC and 60ºC. It is also necessary to ensure air exchange of at least 5 times per hour.

Shower set with movable spout and manual shower mixer, 120 cm pipe

Maintaining Cleanliness in Workplace Toilets

Simply equipping the toilets with appropriate equipment and bathroom accessories will not solve the problem. It is important to designate a person who will constantly supervise the cleanliness of employee toilets, ensure cleanliness, replenish toilet paper, paper towels, liquid soap or foam soap, empty trash cans, and perform similar tasks. The employer should provide constant access to consumables, as well as cleaning agents and cleaning equipment.

Source: Announcement of the Minister of Economy, Labor, and Social Policy, Official Gazette, year 2003, No. 169, item 1650.

 

Ryszard Kurek

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